Listening between the notes: Aesthetic chills in everyday music listening

Emily C. Nusbaum, Paul J. Silvia, Roger E. Beaty, Chris J. Burgin, Donald A. Hodges, Thomas R. Kwapil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Citations (SciVal)


Who gets chills-a pleasurable feeling of goose bumps-in response to music, and why? The current study used experience sampling to examine within-person variability in aesthetic chills. For one week, 106 undergraduate participants responded to 10 daily surveys, delivered via their cell phones, about their momentary activities, emotions, and environment, with an emphasis on whether they were listening to music and were experiencing chills. At the within-person level, music listening context and emotional states during music listening influenced whether or not people got chills. Chills were more likely when people listened to music that they chose and that they were listening to closely. Chills were also more likely when people were listening to music while happy or while sad, but not while worried. Overall, the study illustrates how music listening context and other within-person differences contribute to aesthetic chills in people's everyday environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-109
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts
  • Applied Psychology


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